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tv   MSNBC News Live  MSNBC  May 16, 2010 10:00am-11:00am EDT

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right now on "msnbc sunday," the gulf oil spill. it is still gushing at this hour. new word today on trying to assess the scope of the damage. a live report ahead. "atlantis" docking. the space shuttle hooks up with the space station in a matter of hours to drop off some critical cargo. no triple threat. lookin' at lucky dashes to
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victory but dashes the hopes for a triple crown for one more year. good morning, everyone. i'm alex witt. welcome to "msnbc sunday." right now here on msnbc, the gulf oil spill which is gushing at this hour. the new word today on trying to assess the scope of the damage. a live report ahead. also the "atlantis" docking. the shuttle will hook up with the space station dropping off critical cargo. mark potter is live in venice, louisiana. mark, we've got some new problems that crews may have run into. what are those and when did they begin? >> reporter: well, the problems began friday night, saturday morning when they were trying to insert a pipe inside -- a six-inch-long pipe inside that oil pipe that is spewing oil into the gulf of mexico. they're trying to put a pipe inside that's attached to a hose so they can siphon that oil up to ships on the surface and get it out of the water. b but the problem was they couldn't make the connection
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properly. there's a frame on there and it got knocked out of sync a little bit. they had to bring it back up to the surface, fix it, and they were trying again last night. we understand that process is still under way now so, we do not have an update on whether the second attempt was successful. we're told we might be hearing a little bit more later this morning. scientists and engineers do think that this technique does have a good chance of working, so we're eager to find out from bp, again, later today whether it worked, alex. >> okay. what about these oil plumes under water? i mean, i'm trying to envision what they look like. when you're talking about something that's supposed to be ten miles long, three miles wide, you know, 300 feet in terms of its thickness, is it just one big black, thick blob, or does it not look like that from what you're assessing? >> reporter: i think if you were to think in common terms think more like a jellyfish as opposed to a big black blob. it's more like salad dressing floating down there because it's actually not a big black blob of
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oil. it's a mixture of oil particles and water. but it's a different consistency from the water so it stands out. the concern that scientists have, and they're still studying this, the jury is still out on what all this means, but their concern is that they've noticed a drop in oxygen quality here the blob, in other words, oxygen depletion. not enough to kill marine life so far, but the concern is that it could lead to that at some point. and to have that much oil down there that deep, 2,000 to 4,000 feet undetected from the surface is a great concern to scientists. but they're still trying to figure out exactly how serious that could be. >> yeah. well, i'm glad you put it in terms of kind of like a jellyfish. i get that. that makes a little more sense. thanks so much, mark potter. well, on the political front, new questions today on this bill. on "meet the press" this morning, senate minority leader mitch mcconnell said it's not only the big oil companies that have big questions to answer.
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>> we're also interested to know what the administration did. it was the mineral management service, a part of this administration, that approved this site. it also approved this spill response plan. what kind of oversight did the administration provide during the course of the drilling? the administration's involved and will be a big part of the inquiry. >> nbc's mike viqueira is live at the white house for us. good sunday morning, mike. >> reporter: good morning, alex. >> it's sounding like this spill is taking on a bit more of a political tone. >> reporter: well, you could say that for sure. you know, let's look at what's going on here. leaving aside the catastrophe of the spill, the cleanup, the environmental impact and the impact that it's going to have on the livelihoods of the people all along the gulf coast, let's put that aside and look at this in a political context. the republicans are hardly in a position to endorse bp and what's going on there with this unfolding catastrophe. but there is this agency within the interior department, within
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this administration and every administration called the minerals management service. you heard mitch mcconnell refer to it just then. well, apparently these folks have been allowing some of this drilling to go on without these companies getting all the necessary permits and in particular environmental permits. this has happened during obama administration and during other administrations, as well. and as a matter of fact, you saw the president in the rose garden yesterday. he talked about the ridiculous spectacle, as he put it, of these companies involved in building this well and conducting the exploratory drilling in this well, pointing the fingers at each other at congressional hearings. but later op he talked about this cozy relationship between this agency and the industry that it's supposed to regulate. and it's coming under a lot of criticism now. now, part of political communication, alex, is you've got to stay ahead of the narrative. that was part of the reason the president came out so strongly against those companies and so
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forcefully on friday afternoon in the rose garden. but also there's this effort to get out ahead of the anticipated criticism exactly like we've heard from mich mcconnell about this mms and its failure to perform its job adequately and the president is trying to get ahead of that. he's called for reforms. they're already instituting reforms within that agency. so republicans have tried to get some traction on this, but the ka tastz fee is unfolding and it remains to be seen how it plays out politically. >> you'll let us know. thanks so much, mike viqueira. now to thailand, where officials have reversed a decision to impose a curfew in parts of bangkok where intense clashes continue between anti-government protesters and the thai army. in the past few days, at least 30 people have been killed in clashes. meanwhile, the thai government says the army crackdown will continue on redshirt protesters despite their request for u.n.-mediated talks. the thai government maintains it is only targeting armed protesters. the protesters accuse the
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government of corruption and they are demanding new elections. a phone-in bomb threat on an asian airliner headed to canada forced military jets into some pretty quick action this weekend. canadian military fighters escorted a cafe pacific airbus from hong kong yesterday. police say nothing threaten was found after passengers disembarked. cathay pacific officials later said it was all a hoax. passengers said they weren't informed of any problems and they had no idea of the unfolding drama. >> did you see the fighter jets escorting your plane in? >> what? no. it wasn't that bad. >> yeah, it was. >> what? no way. wow. >> after a thorough search, canadian authorities cleared the plane to return to hong kong. well, a new cloud of ash from that volcano in is land is causing more travel problems. several airports in ireland are shut down and no fly zones have
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been imposed on parts of britain's air space. nbc's stephanie gosk in london for us this sunday morning at an all too familiar position there, heathrow airport. what can you tell us about these airport closures? >> reporter: well, alex, since the last time we spoke about an hour ago, irish officials announced that the dublin airport is going to close in two hours and it's going to remain closed at least until tomorrow morning. that is not going to be welcome news for people that are flying in and out of heathrow. right now this airport is open, but aviation authorities here say that it is an hour-by-hour situation and that it could very well close over the next few days as this cloud lingers above the uk. right now to the north of london, you have some closures in northern england, including manchester airport. the air space is closed over parts of scotland and northern ireland, as well. now, this cloud, they say, was formed because of an eruption on thursday. it then was pushed by winds over
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the uk where it's going to sit until those winds change probably by wednesday. but it is a touch-and-go situation certainly for this airport. alex? >> and, i mean, the last time, what was it, five, six days of complete shutdown across northern europe. are we looking at anything like that this time or a day or two? are officials speculating at all? >> reporter: well, they're saying this cloud is not as big as the last cloud so, that will certainly make a difference. but, you know, it has the potential, it is dangerous that it will ground planes and particularly here in the uk, this is europe's busiest airport here at heathrow. closing this airport has a ripple effect not just in europe but around the world. i think you may remember that there were people trapped in india for days trying to -- even after the airport opened trying to get back to heathrow. it does create chaos, but they do say that it looks like it will not be on the scale that we saw just a few weeks ago in
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april. >> okay. fingers crossed you are right. thanks so much, stephanie gosk. a slow-moving weather system coming iin inout of the rockies bring showers in the midwest and the south today. but the sky is clear in new york city for the time being. let's get to the forecast. i'm joined by the weather channel's danielle banks. good morning again, danielle. >> reporter: good morning to you. great to see you. me and mother nature, we're like this, alex, so i was able to get you some nice weather in the concrete jungle today. >> good girl. >> but that will change in a couple days. we'll need the rain gear on tuesday for you. rain gear definitely needed right now looking across the volunteer state, nashville getting really hard hit. two weeks ago already the rainiest may on record for the entire state. so it's just really amazing to see some of those numbers coming out of the nashville area. so we're going to be talking about more showers and thunderstorms, as well, developing across west texas.
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that's another area that's going to be pretty hard hit. so think about west texas. also think about just the midwest and the south in general because that's where all those showers and thunderstorms are scooting off to. right now a lot of active weather just to the north of new orleans, but again, you know, we've really been concentrating on poor hit-up nashville as well as louisville. but these showers continue to plug east bound over into the carolinas and still a few showers and storms cropping up along the sunshine state. alex, back to you. >> thank you very much, danielle, from the weather channel. a woman in texas escaped a dangerous flashflood with her life, but she could not escape the law because police say the woman drove around a barricade right onto an interstate that had closed down because of flashflooding. so it took four firefighters to pluck that stranded woman and bring her to dry ground. once there you saw her being handcuffed for ignoring the barricade. it's a few days to go before a critical election in pennsylvania. we've got live report coming up from philadelphia on the race for senate there. could the u.s. be the next
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greece? some voices weighing in this weekend paint a pretty sobering picture. triple-crown dreams are dashed at the preakness. who won here on msnbc. oh, phillips' col health probiotic plus fiber. how's it work? ok, she's gas. he's constipation... why am i constipation? ...he's diarrhea. and our special fiber helps our probiotics so that you can show those symptoms who's in charge. this isn't even floor. [ elevator bell dings ] and i want to roll over my old 401(k) into a fidelity ira. man: okay, no problem. it's easy to get started. i can help you with the paperwork.
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in just two days, a critical election in pennsylvania. arlen specter will be on the democrat iqbal lot for the first time in his 30-year career. the vet vann senator switched parties just over year ago and now he is working to fend off a stiff challenge from two-term democratic congressman joe sestak, and this race is a dead heat. the latest poll shows senator specter with 44% of the vote and congressman sestak with 42%. if you take notice of the margin of error of more than 3%, that means we have a statistical tie on our hands. nbc's ron allen is in philadelphia for us this sunday
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morning. good morning to you, ron. who are you perceiving as having the edge going into tuesday? >> reporter: you know, alex, it's really hard to say. this is a very interesting race, and most people think it could go either way. the polls, as you saw, are very tight. over the long haul of this race, they moved in the direction of sestak, who was at one point down as much as 20 points. arlen specter, though, is the big variable. this race is really about him. it's such an unusual circumstance to have a very high-profile republican senator become a democrat 13 months ago and arlen specter is a name you know. he's known around washington, known around the country. he's not just any senator. he also has a lot of support from some pretty big-name democrats, the governor of pennsylvania, the mayor of philadelphia, and the president of the united states. this is about whether rank-and-file democrats who have been trying to defeat arlen specter for the last 30 years will believe he is truly a democrat and come out and vote for him. he've been following the candidates around for the final
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days of the campaign. here's part of their closing arguments. >> well, the enthusiasm is terrific. we are slightly ahead in the poll, and there's no doubt if we get out our vote, we win it. >> people are hurt. we need someone in washington who hasn't been there for 30 years advancing a republican agenda, saying it's too tough, i can't beat pat toomey, so i'm going to become a democrat. >> reporter: pat toomey is the conservative republican running on the other side of the ledger. and the question is the kind date against him and specter and sestak argue they are that guy. this race is so much about arlen specter, so much about his conversion from the republican side to the democratic side. and will the rank and file believe him and get out and vote for him? both candidates are pounding the pavement, hitting a lot of churches in philadelphia today. philadelphia has a huge democratic constituency and ultimately it's about whether each side can get out their vote
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and move these numbers one way or the other. as you said, the polls are very, very close and this thing is coming right down to the wire. alex? >> i think it's going to be a squeaker and i'm so curious to see how this thing goes. i'm excited to watch this on tuesday. ron allen, thank you. we'll bring you the latest on all the big primaries this tuesday. you can expect live coverage all day right here on msnbc, the place for politics. it is a sports story that is spilling over into the world of politics and even pop culture. even president obama is weighing in through an adviser. nbc's peter alexander is here with more on the story of none other than king james, lebron james. good morning. alex, good sunday morning. who says there isn't royalty in the u.s.? lebron james, sports fans will know, is celebrated as king james in the basketball world. he may be looking for a new place to set his throne beginning next season. the 25-year-old has been a superstar in his home state of ohio. but on july 1st that's when many
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sportswriters say he will become the biggest free agent in sports history. james has a pretty big decision on his hands. does he stay put in cleveland and show the fans there he's a loyal leader? does he head to south beach and follow the miami heat? does he try to follow michael jordan's footsteps and bring new championships to the chicago bulls or as folks around new york like to think, does he chase fame and become a knick? anywhere he goes he's likely to pull in $17 million a season, that would be his salary, a good problem to have, right, especially for a guy who has never won a championship in six nba seasons. what makes this story so interesting is it's not just about basketball. it's also about business. lebron alone would raise an organization's value and fill seats almost overnight and everybody has an opinion, alex. you've been talking about this today. we'll put it up on the screen. the senior white house adviser david axelrod saying on behalf of the president --
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the major of new york, michael bloomberg jumped into this debate saying he did lebron a big sales pitch and retweeted a message to fans. one person wrote, can we change the bronx to lebronx? and added "good one" to that. comparison to what ohioans are doing to try to keep the megastar, listen to this. ♪ we say lebron we say lebron we really need you we really need you ♪ ♪ no up with else is going to you half as much as we do ♪ >> i'm trusting somewhere in houses around america dogs are howling right now. month who needs "we are the world" when there is "please stay lebron." the senator and governor ted strickland and othersd are recording their voices to add their voices. the playoffs aren't even done and this is already the biggest sports story and it's not on the court. >> and i'm kind of -- come on,
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that was a little pathetic. really? i don't think he's staying there. >> one of the guests he had earlier today said for sports fans is lebron and the restless, the ultimate soap opera until july 1st. we'll be watching. >> you know why, too, because nick and bart, they're like all they can do is watch this, cleveland boys, our producers. thank you, peter. closing in. the crew of the space shuttle "atlantis" gets ready to dock within minutes, about ten minutes or so, even less. a live report from cape canaveral next.
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it's the latest rendition of a popular tale, but can the new robin hood starring russell crowe and cate blanchette steal a top spot at the box office this week? >> and enslave people to its king. a king who demands loyalty but offers nothing in return.
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>> joining me in the studio the entertainment editor with the associated press. good morning. >> good morning. >> lots of buzz being generated. all eyes on the cannes film festival. what's the take-away? >> the this movie is doing huge overseas. "robin hood" opened the cannes film festival. >> that's a good position to be in. >> cate blanchette and of course russell crowe, australian power. >> you made the point it's done very well overseas. how about here? >> here it's okay. it's predicted to be second at the box office this weekend right behind iron man, which isn't surprising. "right-hander ma "iron man" had momentum from the first one. i think more people will see it. >> ron insana came on after you, had just seen it and loved it. i said, okay, you have something kind of building here. >> exactly. >> "letters to juliet."
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what do you think? >> it's sweet. you've got these big blockbusters like "robin hood" and "iron man." "letters to juliet" is a love story. >> modern-day juliet? >> modern day. she goes to verona and starts answering love letters that people right and inspires her own story. you have generations there. >> i've got to say again my daughter is so excited to see this. i think because it's taylor swift music in there. >> exactly. vanessa redgrave. something for everyone. >> we love that. especially if you're a chick. >> a chick flick. >> thanks so much. >> a pleasure. coming up, horse racing fans are going to have to wait yet another year for a triple-crown winner after yesterday's preakness. >> on the far outside, wild finish coming. lookin at lucky! he got it! lookin at lucky has won the
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zyrtec® is the fastest 24-hour allergy medicine. it works on my worst symptoms so i'm ready by the time we get to the first hole. new zyrtec® liquid gels work fast, so i can love the air®. the space shuttle "atlantis" is at this minute docking with the international space station. and for the very latest, let's get right to nbc's jay barbree, because nobody knows thousand how to explain this better than he does. he's in merit island, florida. jay, good morning. everything looking good there? >> looking great, alex. just moments ago, we can see a picture of it now here on msnbc, "atlantis" docked with the space station. it occurred over the south pacific and just at sunrise. it was on time, it was beautiful, and this could be "atlantis's" last docking with the station, alex, as we told
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everybody before and you and i talked about it yesterday. they may retire "atlantis" next month, june 11th. that's under consideration. but everything is perfect for this 12-day mission they've got set up. they'll go out tomorrow morning at 8:16 now for their first space walk. that's eastern time. they have three space walks. they're going to install a russian module. so it was a beautiful approach this morning as they approached the space station, and i think we have some video on that if we could roll it and we could see the approach as it came in. just perfect. they got a good look at the tile. everything is as it should be. they don't see anything at all there that should give them any problems to come home. so a beautiful docking this morning over the south pacific. 210 miles above the ocean. >> you know what, when you put it that way, i never get over how incredibly cool it is to be
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able to look at this, see pictures live, 210 miles up there in space. i mean, you know? i love this stuff. >> i know. alex, i tell you, what was better is to see those guys step out onto the lunar surface in project "apollo" more than 40 years ago. so hopefully they're going to go back into outer space to get-go into low-earth orbit where we have been for the past 40 years and i think that will be terrific. because, you know, they're talking act visiting asteroids, and that's very exciting, and going to the launch points. these are points in space where you have equal gravity from two separate bodies and you can just park a spaceship there and study. and also eventually going to the moons of mars. they've got some terrific, terrific programs lined up now if nasa decides to take those trips. but this is, indeed, exciting. this is the 132nd mission of the
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space shuttle itself. so here we go with our video that we were talking about just a little ago that joshua put together for us. we've got to thank joshua for a good job. this is terrific, joshua. and we can see the "atlantis" approaching the international space station and it's just magnificent. and you can also see there, alex, you can see those tiles. they look in great shape. so "atlantis" shouldn't have any trouble coming back home in 12 days. and, you know, we can't tell for certain, the experts on the ground are studying now, but everything looks beautiful. but this was "atlantis" on its approach to the space station. this is great here with it coming in. it's just magnificent. and you can see below there, you saw the earth passing and water and -- >> mm-hmm. >> fantastic. >> i want to go. anyway, jay barbree, thanks so much. i love this stuff. appreciate sharing it with you. >> thank you, alex. there's plenty of anger
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aimed at politicians these days but the question is whether that will translate at the ballot box. on tuesdays the voters will determine the fate of several incumbents who are fighting for their political lives. eleanor clift from "newsweek" and associate editor and clisz for "the hill," a.b. stoddard. hello, ladies. >> hi. >> good morning. >> eleanor, let's talk about the primary races playing out nationwide as voters head to the polls in arkansas, kentucky, pennsylvania. arlen specter facing tough challenges. are these races an accurate preview of what's going to come in november, the midterms? >> well, we saw some incumbents fall last week in a set of primary contests. and so now the big question is will some of these larger-than-life figures fall once again. i think arlen specter is the one that everybody's really looking at. formerly a democrat, then a republican, now a democrat, he was very crass about saying he switched parties just so he
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could win. you need to package it a little better. ronald reagan said my party left me, i didn't leave the party. and specter's got to remind democrats that barack obama would not have gotten his stimulus recovery bill or health care reform without his vote. and so, big test of the democratic party apparatus in pennsylvania. and i think the other one, democrats in particular are looking at, is arkansas's blanche lincoln. the polls look pretty good for her, although she may not get the 50% threshold to survive a runoff. >> a runoff. yeah. >> what this all tells us, the larger question is people are angry and the only way they can express that anger is to vote people out of office. but i'm not so sure all the incumbents may necessarily fall next week. >> they've gotten there the first time so they know what it's like. a.b., as we look to the future with you, the fall midterms there are more than a dozen
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senate seats. do you think the republicans could gain the ten needed to take back the majority or is that a stretch? >> when i look at running the table, i have my eye on eight. indiana. i'm going to look at my list here. delaware, north dakota, nevada, illinois, indiana, arkansas, colorado, pennsylvania. then they have to get into wisconsin and california, difficult territory to really pick up i think ten seats. but, you know, in a way what we see and when the senate was captured by the democrats in the last time, what we see in waves is we see these race where is maybe five, six, seven we think they're going to lock um and it often does spread at the last minute to ones that are long shots. so it is entirely possible for the republicans to take the senate, just not so likely. >> i think your audio technician is going to tell you to put your microphone back up. it dropped off. as i go to eleanor, a.b., who no matter who wins the contests, the public perception seems pretty much split right down the
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middle. you have a new poll showing republicans have pulled even with democrats as far as who the voters want to control congress. so do you think president obama should be worried about that? >> well, yes, because i think it will be more difficult if he doesn't have strong democratic majorities. but if you're sitting in the white house, you could also make the case that losing control of the house may actually set the president up for re-election in 2012. if you go back to the clinton experience. bill clinton worked pretty well with the republican congress. and i think the senate -- i can see five to eight seats going the republican way, but i think the democrats will still control. if you look at the people likely to win, there are a couple in there like ron kirk from illinois, mike castle from delaware, who i think really are moderates and you could even make the case there could be more bipartisanship. so, look, those of us in washington who have been watching this stuff, we can spin
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it all sorts of ways. and if you want to look for some positive signs for the white house, i think they can come out looking pretty good regard less of what happens. >> i'm curious, a.b., how large a role you think the president is going to play in the races across the country, because if you look at just what's been happening in pennsylvania, that seat has been blanketed with that one particular ad of the president, you know, really vocally supporting arlen specter. do you think he's going to be a big player? >> i think if you look at what happened in races, you know, in massachusetts and the fact that president obama doesn't want to appear on behalf of specter this week right before he probably goes down, if you look at new jersey, if you look at all the races obama has helped him, people are losing, it's not good. same in colorado with senator bennett. i think the lesson is the white house is going to need to pull back and he might go in place where is he knows he's going to help, but he's not going to help
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in as many districts as we thought nine months ago. it's really a problem for his political capital. >> you said ut tlut. >> no. michael bennett in colorado. >> oh. >> another person that the white house is backing who's struggling very hard. >> okay. all right, ladies. thank you very much as always. >> okay. thank you. >> a.b. stoddard, kliff. there's a 16-year-old girl back on land for the first time in seven months after becoming the youngest person to sail around the world by herself nonstop and unassisted. imagine that. jessica's reunion was filmed by australian camera crews and that was the first time jessica had set foot on land in 210 days. >> i'm completely overwhelmed. i just don't know what to think and what to say at the moment, so it's all a bit much. but absolutely amazing. >> derek frese is an expert in boating and sailing instruction. can you put this feat into
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perspective for us? a 16-year-old girl doing this over a seven-month period by herself. >> well, it is really a remarkable achievement and there's many things she has to deal with in that 210-plus days. sensory deprivation, problem solving, rogue waves, knockovers, just the whole, the whole thing. it's quite a remarkable achievement. >> and derek, a lot of people were saying she is never going to come home alive. so imagine the kind of training to allow her parents to even embark on this in the first place. give me an idea of what she had to do. >> well, you know, i think it is a tough call for parents. and, you know, you send your daughter out to achieve something notable but yet there's really large risk. if she happens to perish or takes a knockdown or doesn't recover, boy, that's an occasion that would be tough for parents if she doesn't come home. >> in terms of her technical skills, look at that boat.
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that's a 34-foot boat and she had to battle by some accounts 40-foot swells on the sea. you know, talk act her navigational ability. >> well, yeah. and sailing around the world that is full of all sorts of navigational issues and tough seas, big waves. and that is tough not only with a big crew but certainly tough alone. jessica had good fortune. >> well yoenl another thing, i'm sure you've heard about all the situation with the pirates off the somali coast and the like, so you think about what this girl had to face emotionally, practically speaking as well as running that boat. but what about from safety's perspective? a 16-year-old all alone? >> well, you know, there is huge safety issues, and most of the safety issues are inclement weather and large waves. and the thing that she's got to ward against most is a rollover where she dunltd recover or she gets thrown in the cockpit or is sleeping when she gets a rogue wave and then the boat submerges
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and she's got to get out and then hopefully get rescued and endure hypothermia, all the issues at seas that may take up to 24 hours to even have someone locate her. >> although jessica is now the youngest to sail around the world solo, nonstop, unassisted, her feat won't be considered an official record because the world speed sailing record council has discontinued its youngest category. is this a good thing? because might this kind of competition eventually drive a young, unprepared person into the mix? >> well, i think it is a good thing because certainly we don't want to have a tragedy with a young person out at sea ap and, you know, the previous person that was young, zach sutherland that went and jessica both did a great job. but it's kind of like the analogy might be running along a busy freeway. you can do it, but over time you're probably going to experience a huge problem or a tragedy. i think it is a good idea to not
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endorse it in those terms. >> yeah. well, at least she is back home safe and sound on terra firma. >> absolutely. >> thank you so much. >> oh, thank you. well, talk about a golden graduate. a california woman just graduated from college at the age of 94. hazel suarez received her bachelors in art history yesterday and hopes to work as a docent at a local museum. huge congrats to you. imagine being at thirty thousand feet with a plane full of kids.
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purina cat chow. i can't wait to just sit by the pool and relax. yea. [loud music playing and yelling] with chase sapphire you always get an expert advisor immediately. man: chase sapphire, this is brian. hi, brian. we're on vacation and would love to change hotels. you call. we answer. [faint music playing] problem solved. is the music too loud? ♪ ♪ go to chase.com/sapphire. europe's top banker calls it the deepest economic crisis since world war ii. today officials overseas are struggling to contain a massive debt crisis that threatens to spread from greece all the way to wall street. joining me now, rick newman, chief business correspondent with "u.s. news & world report." good morning to you. >> hi, alex.
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>> this debt crisis spilling out from greece dragging down the marks worldwide. with can you talk about the vulnerability of the u.s. economy here? are we vulnerable and if so, why? >> very vulnerable. what we've learned from this financial crisis is we're all in this together. there's no way to stay away from globalization, to fence yourself off from problems going on elsewhere. this is about real problems and also about confidence, worries it could spread to porch xwtugp spain, and eventually the united states. it's a wake-up call to washington. >> do we have the same fiscal issues that europe does? >> put hit the way, we are not greece. our economy is far stronger than greece's economy despite the recession. and we have tools that -- levers that we can pull that greece does not have. however, the lesson from the greek crisis is if the markets lose confidence in you, you lose control of your own destiny. now, we have a big debt problem
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here. we are not going to hit greek levels of debt until sometime close to 2020, but if we wait until 2020 to teal with it, we're basically going to have the aig bailout times 100. it's the worst possible way to deal with it. just say we'll deal with it when the crisis happens. business people, for example, are totally disgusted by washington because everybody know what is the problem is and nobody is addressing it. >> why not? >> because it involves things that are uncomfortable like raising taxes and cutting government services. there's just no way around this. and we all know no politician, especially in an election year, is going to say, look, we face tough choices, you're going to have to pay more taxes or expect less government. and president obama promised not to raise taxes on the middle class so, we're seeing all this sort of stepping around this in washington and now president obama has set up this commission to look at the problem. that's his commission, by the way. the senate actually said we don't want our own commission, so obama set up his own.
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washington is just sticking their fingers in their ears on this one. >> if you know that and business leaders know that and everybody knows all this, how does that benefit the dow when people are investing? >> well, investors are losing confidence in the united states not because they're losing confidence in the u.s. economy. they're losing confidence in the political leadership of the united states. i've heard investment managers say, you know, we don't think it's so necessary anymore to hold u.s. treasury securities. those are the flight to safety, the ultimate fail-safe securities, right? in small ways right now but in tangible ways are saying we don't think they're as safe has yay used to be and there are other places to put our money. right now when there's a crisis, all the money still does come back to the united states, but we're taking that for granted and it won't always be the case. >> rick newman, thanks so much. >> thanks. still ahead, the link between internet use and your happiness. ly and darren's 9 year old daughter erica
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was right here on her bicycle... just 15 pedals from home. the driver was distracted by her cellphone, and didn't see her. how many more have to die before we take a stand? let their lives be our light. join me and chevy, who care about your safety. go to oprah.com and take the pledge.
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wohl, the internet may be the secret to happiness. according to british researchers, the ability to use and have access to the internet makes people feel more satisfied and provides a greater sense of we well-being. joining me now, dr. jeff gardere, america's psychologist but i like to say you're our friend. >> yes. and part of family. >> that's right. you think the internet gets a bad rap. we talk about the parents, we've done this before, letting your kids go on these things unattended, all sorts of issues. >> the connections with anxiety and the internet addiction if you're on there too long. it does get a bad rap. >> we're hearing more about tweeting and texting and all that. does that make you more happy? >> what this study is saying is it's the secret to happiness, and it is not the secret to happiness. i hate to say that to the researchers.
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but what we're also seeing is some good news here. it's saying people here from third-world countries, developing countries, especially who may feel isolated, this is a way for them to reach out to others, to be part of the information highway, to feel more empowered, to feel part of the global community so they don't have to be so alone or feel so alone. >> okay. what about people that are addicted to the internet? i mean, at what point do you go from healthy use to addiction, which can't be good? >> well, if it interferes with your occupational and social functioning to the point of where it is your only source of happiness and you can't stop, it's the only thing that makes you happy, then there is a real issue, because we have to find that balance, alex. it's not just about the internet but most importantly the face-to-face being able to be social in that way. >> why did you point out a woman as an example there? is there something that shows in this study that women get
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happier from the internet? >> well, what they're saying in this particular study, women who are still considered part of a disempowered minority, this is the way for them to have more security, freedom, and influence. this is a way for them to break out of just being stuck in raising their families and being isolated in that way so that they can have more of that balance. they get some satisfaction out of e-mailing, tweeting, being able to text. it's a way for them to be part of a broader community and not just to be stuck at home feeling that really my whole life is just about my family. i want to be out there, too, with everyone else. >> and when you look at this study, they also say it talks about the empowerment that the internet will offer to people. what is that? the ability to give information? is that what gives them that sense of empowerment? >> there are two things going on here. it's about the information superhighway. let's face it, it is miraculous being able to go on the net, pull up any information from any part of the world, travel
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through the internet through any part of the world and get that informs. that is certainly empowering. and the other thing is part of that social network that we're talking about where you can communicate with anyone from brooklyn to russia to asia, and so that in itself gives you the power, gives you the freedom to be able to say that you're part of something bigger than just what you're involved in. that is happiness. >> yeah. no. it is cool. no doubt. dr. jeff gardere, cool you are as always. >> oh, thank you, alex. new worries that the volcano in iceland could bring more trouble today for air travelers in europe. and a new accuser. the woman you'll see claims she was sexually abused by a famous director 33 years ago. get our hands a little busier. our dollars a little stronger. and our thinking a little greener. let's grab all the bags and all the plants and all the latest tools out there.
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